Are sick ‘puppy mill’ dogs being disguised as rescues to sidestep new California law?

Delight Homan did not go to the Westminster Mall to get a puppy. No, no, no. But there she was, peering into a kennel in the mall’s CA Puppy store, face-to-face with the cutest little toy Chihuahua she ever laid eyes on.

“When I looked into his eyes, I swear, he smiled at me,” Homan said. “My heart went thump-thump-thump. He was mine, one way or another.”

Taquito Pepe was about 12 weeks old, purebred, cost $1,000 — and a rescue, according to the paperwork. Homan signed a contract on Sept. 25 and took “the love of my life” home to Seal Beach, but within two days he stopped eating and drinking. He wouldn’t poop or pee.

The next six weeks were a blur of veterinarian offices and emergency clinics, medications and hospitalizations, worry and heartache. Vet bills exceeded $15,000. Taquito had giardia, pneumonia, distemper, kennel cough and other ailments. “There was nothing on this dog that wasn’t sick,” Homan said.

At the same store, college students Kevyn Camacho and Robyn Whitman fell hard for Churro, a purebred dachshund. They paid $1,200 for him — almost half on credit at an annual percentage rate of 198.97% — but he soon began to vomit and pass bloody diarrhea. Churro had Parvo, kennel cough, distemper and various respiratory viruses. His vet care exceeded $14,000, but not even that could save him: One agonizing month after coming home, Churro was dead.

“He couldn’t breathe in the middle of the night and his body was too frail from fighting his diseases,” Whitman, of Huntington Beach, wrote in a heart-wrenching post on Yelp on Oct. 16. “I NEED you to know: our dog died from complications due to MANY preventable diseases.”

Throughout California, high-priced pet store “rescue” puppies are showing up in vets’ offices with diseases long associated with Midwestern commercial breeders, or “puppy mills,” according to vets, bereft owners and animal activists.

“I get that legitimate rescues do have outbreaks now and then,” said Amaris Franco, a critical-care veterinarian in Fountain Valley who has treated pet store puppies. “All these diseases are extremely infectious. But these dogs don’t look like rescue puppies — all purebreds, all young. I don’t know what rescue you’re getting all these young purebred puppies from.”

Joe Simmons, an emergency veterinarian in Huntington Beach, has treated several of these puppies as well. “There was one, 8 or 9 weeks old, malnourished, no vaccinations, distemper,” he said. “Any pup

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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